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Quote Me, Howie: Retain Shirtless Captain Kirk? Prep sports coaches


Duluth City Councilor Arik Forsman – “The end of the 2024 season reminded many of us of how ugly football can get when you don’t have starting caliber QB on your roster. Ideally, the Vikings will shoot for the best of both worlds this offseason. Resign (Kirk) Cousins to a team-friendly 1 or 2 year deal and also acquire their QB of the future in the draft. However, if Kirk tries to maximize his value and wants more money and/or a longer term, they should turn the page and look elsewhere for a stopgap option while they get a rookie ready.”

Hermantown football coach Mike Zagelmeyer – "I would say yes, but only if they can do a two-year contract. Not sure (Justin) Jefferson wants to go through another year where the Vikings are going to try and piece it together again. The bigger question will be if the Vikings are going to draft a quarterback this year? There are so many question marks on this team. I think we are looking at some extremely rocky years ahead of us." 

Cloquet boys basketball coach Steve Battaglia – "People got a chance to appreciate how good Kirk is during his absence. Jefferson isn’t going to stick around if we don’t have a high end QB." 

Legendary Bulldogs football lineman Scott Lyons – "They have little choice. Even if they draft in the middle of the first round, they need Cousins for at least a year more. They have backed themselves into a big hole."

Duluth Denfeld football coach Erik Lofald – "In my opinion you have to resign Kirk. He’s proven he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league by his play before getting hurt, and by his absence as the Vikings offense struggled without him. Both Dobbs and Mullins made some admirable starts, and Hall flashed, but it was clear none of them were at the level of Cousins. Justin Jefferson has clearly stated he prefers Kirk. In a division that has all of a sudden become one of the most competitive in the league because of the quarterback play, I think it’s a no brainer. Now that’s not to say they can’t draft a QB this year. I believe the best formula for success is to draft a QB that is not forced into action and can watch and learn, such as was the case with Brady, Rodgers, Mahomes and Love."


Hermantown boys basketball coach Andy Fenske on Hawks standout Abe Soumis, recent games and the team moving forward– "(Senior forward) Abe Soumis is the type of player that every coach dreams of having on their team. While he's far too humble to talk about his own accomplishments, I think our program realized long ago what a special type of player he is. Not only does he get the job on the court, but he's the type of guy that players go to. He's trusted in the locker room and the coaching staff with any task that is needed. Currently, he's 5th all-time in scoring for Hermantown, 1st in rebounds, 3rd in assists, 2nd in steals, and tied for 7th in blocks. To add the icing on the cake, I think his best performance is still to come as he continually breaks his own in-game records. 

This past weekend, we had two good matchups in AAA with Rock Ridge as a section match-up, and Becker at the (Lake Superior) Classic. Between the two games, Abe put up some great numbers (72 points, 33 boards, 21 assists, 6 steals) but he also took care of slowing down Becker's top scorer. We ask him to shoulder a lot during the games and he continues to take it in stride and give his best effort each and every time. 

Abe's the type of player that we want our young guys emulating, because he's putting in the work in the unseen hours to continue to push and elevate his team. While he's racking up personal stats and accolades, I think he'll be the first to tell you that it's about the team. 

This week we have a set of three games that are going to be tough matchups. We see (Duluth) East for the first time, and no matter the records of either team, this is always a tough match-up where players are going at it for 36 minutes. Then we draw Cloquet for the second time this season and while the first one went in our favor, we need to exceed our performance on Thursday night. We wrap up the week with Hibbing for the second time and, again, we can't be overlooking our opponent in the slightest. That game up there was far too close at halftime and for much of the game. If we want to be the team that represents 7AAA at state again, we need to ramp up our intensity and effort on both sides of the ball."

Hermantown hockey coach Patrick Andrews on his Class 1A, No. 1-ranked club (9-2-2) – "Last week was great, we got a big win over Section 7 foe Proctor (2-1 in OT, in Proctor), a dominant performance at Rock Ridge (6-1), and a very impressive win over AA powerhouse Eden Prairie (5-4, at historic Hermantown Arena) to finish off the week. Anytime we play Proctor in anything there is going to be a little extra juice in the tank, especially for the Rails who haven't beaten us for over 20 years. (Proctor senior goaltender) AJ Reyelts played out of his mind and gave the Rails a chance to win. I was really happy with our guys and the way they handled themselves in what could have easily frustrated and rattled a lot of high school teams. The boys stuck with it and overcame some adversity which speaks volumes to this group's character.

On Thursday night I thought we played the most complete game of the season winning all three periods of the game in convincing style over a solid Rock Ridge team on the road. Our power play, which up to this point has been anemic, came alive with simple hard plays scoring three of the six goals.

Saturday might be the best performance of the season considering the circumstances. It was the third game of the week after two road games, including a late-night coming back from Rock Ridge. After a pretty even first, we outworked and outscored EP in the second taking the game over, again the PP came through.  In the third, we added three much needed insurance goals which ended up being the difference. 

(Sophomore forward) Body Madill scored his first varsity goal, which ended up being the game-winner. I was happy for him as he has been close but up until that point was unable to break through. The boys ran out of gas towards the end of the game, we took some poor penalties and allowed EP to claw back into it. But in the end we had done enough through 3/4 of the game to seal the win.

(Senior goaltender) Dane Callaway again was our backbone this week giving us a chance to win all three games with big timely saves, including some great ones on the PK in Rock Ridge and a short-handed breakaway save in the 2nd against EP which turned the tide of the game. (Junior power forward) River Freeman continues to impress both on the scoreboard and defensively as our number-one center. (Senior defenseman) Will Esterbrooks finds ways to end up on the score sheet every night while playing shutdown D and he gives our team a physical, toughness that the all-boys feed off."